How to Ask Your BIM Manager for a Raise and Actually Get It

May 10, 2018

Have you ever stopped to think, “how does what I do every day impact the long-term commercial success of my company?”

If you’re honest with yourself, you’d probably have to say, “no.” With the exception of the owners and highest-level executives in any organization, most of us would need to answer in the negative. Generally, those of us who have a particular job to do that doesn’t involve strategic planning, just go about doing our jobs day in and day out without giving much thought to the big picture.

But, think about this for a moment: If you were in your boss’s shoes for the day, and YOU came into the office requesting a raise, what sorts of things would you probably think about?

Would you say, “well, she comes into work every day, sits down and does what we tell her to do, and punches out on time every night,” then reason, “she’s definitely worth another few dollars an hour”? Not necessarily. It sounds like that employee is doing the minimum she needs to do to get by and is, therefore, earning what she’s already being paid.

On the other hand, what if the boss’s internal monologue went more like this: “Wow, she works hard day in and day out, and she’s constantly making smart suggestions for improving internal processes and making the workflow more efficient. She’s probably saved the company $20,000 this quarter alone…” Will there be any hesitation in granting a raise under those circumstances?

Probably not.

Here are a few things to consider before asking your BIM manager for a raise.


It’s all about ROI

Here’s the point of those two scenarios:

Running a business (or a department, for that matter) can often be boiled down to three simple letters: ROI — Return On Investment.

If you’re constantly spending more than you’re earning, you’re going to go broke. Similarly, if a business always spends more on things like salaries, rent, and supplies than it earns in revenue, it’s going to go out of business. So, every viable business decision your boss and your boss’s boss makes has to take ROI into consideration: Is this action/purchase/process/decision going to earn back more than it costs?

If the answer is an obvious yes, the decision to move forward should be an easy one. For example, handing that stellar employee a raise is a simple ROI equation: she’s already proven herself to be worth far more than she’s currently being paid, so agreeing to pay her more in lieu of potentially losing her to another firm is just good business.

On the other hand, if the answer to the ROI question is either “no” or “I don’t know,” a positive outcome is much less likely. Offering a raise to someone who is barely earning back what they’re already being paid just doesn’t make economic sense.


How can you prove your value to your BIM Manager?

Every CAD Designer has the opportunity to step outside their stereotypical role (churning out adequate designs on schedule) and start really adding value to the overall business. Most don’t bother to pursue this worthy goal, but those that do can achieve great things, including impressive financial rewards, by simply approaching their work from an ROI perspective.

The easiest and most effective way to do this is to take the initiative to analyze tools and processes that impact your daily workflow and determine if, and where, inefficiencies or bottlenecks exist. Then, come up with a logical, creative solution to the issue, and make a recommendation to your boss. The same principle applies to quality improvement as well: if the quality of your finished product can be improved without dramatically slowing the process down or increasing its cost, recommend the necessary changes.

Every minute that’s saved through efficiency allows for more work to get done, eventually translating to higher revenue without an increase in labor costs. That’s an automatic ROI win. Likewise, every improvement in quality increases the overall value of the company’s product, which impacts revenue, customer retention, and referrals. As long as the cost of the improvement doesn’t exceed the increase in value, that’s another positive ROI.

Some other questions to entertain include:

  • Is there anything our competitors are offering that we aren’t? Can we add, or even improve upon, those offerings in order to better compete?
  • Would an upgraded design software or hardware solution offer sufficient increases in speed, efficiency, or quality to justify the cost of purchase and training?
  • Can we streamline our current processes to save time, reduce errors, or improve the greater workflow?

By taking more of a “big picture” view of what your company needs to succeed, you can frame your own actions and accomplishments in terms your boss can’t possibly argue with: ROI and long-term strategic value. Then, when you ask for a raise, the “yes” will be a foregone conclusion.

To explore more ways CAD Designers can add value across the construction organization, take a look at this free guide, Can a CAD Pro Play the Hero?


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